Kevin Henkes (pronounced HENK-us) thought he would be a painter until his junior year of high school, when one of his teachers encouraged him in his writing efforts. He discovered that children's books combined both his literary and artistic interests.
Henkes is author and illustrator of children's picturebooks, many of which feature mice as their main characters. He also writes young-adult fiction. Henkes wrote his first book during his freshman year in college. The book's theme deals with how a child describes the pleasures of occasional solitude. This theme is common in many of Henkes' later books. Henkes, one of five children, says that many of his storylines are inspired by his family and the neighborhood where he grew up in Racine, Wisconsin.
Henkes' first book, All Alone, was published in 1981 by Greenwillow Books. More than 30 books followed, including Chrysanthemum and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse. Henkes won the 2004 Newbery Honor for Olive's Ocean, a 1994 Caldecott Honor for Owen, and a 2005 Caldecott Medal for Kitten's First Full Moon.
Henkes is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin—Madison. He lives in Madison with his wife, artist Laura Dronzek, and their two children.
Bailey Goes Camping - Winner of the CCBC Choices 1985.
Grandpa & Bo - Winner of the CCBC Choices 1986 and the Council of Winconsin Writers Picture Book Award.
A Weekend with Wendell - Winner of the CCBC Choices 1986 and Children's Choices 1987.
Once Around the Block - Winner of the CCBC Choices 1987 and the Library of Congress Best Books of the Year.
Sheila Rae, the Brave - Winner of the CCBC Choices 1987
Chester's Way - Winner of the CCBC Choices 1988 and the ALA Notable Children's Books 1988.
Jessica - 1989
Shhhh - Winner of the CCBC Choices 1989
Julius, the Baby of the World - Winner of the ALA Notable Children's Books 1990, Booklist Editors Choice 1990, CCBC Choices 1990, and the Horn Book Fanfare 1990
The Biggest Boy - Winner of the CCBC Choices, 1995
Good-Bye Curtis - Winner of the CCBC Choices 1995
Circle Dogs - Winner of the CCBC Choices 1998 and the Charlotte Zolotow Award: Highly Commended 1999.
Oh! - Winner of the CCBC Choices 2000
Owen - Greenwillow Books, 1993
Wemberly Worried - Winner of the ALA Notable Children's Book 2000, CCBC Choices 2001, IRA Children's Choices 2001, IRA Teachers' Choices 2001, Parenting Magazine Reading Magic Award 2000, Publishers Weekly Best Children's Books 2001, School Library Journal Best Children's Books 2001, and WLS Outstanding Children's Books 2001.